The several socialites beside Mia all showed hostility toward the woman that suddenly appeared beside President Li.
Mia did not feel comfortable either, but she had to admit that amongst the women at the venue, the woman beside Li Nanli was the brightest.
She was wearing a white qipao that was dotted with a few Begonia petals. Her cascading black hair had been pulled back against her head and tied in a short ponytail at the back.
She exuded the vibe of an intelligent and sensible woman, but she did not deserve to stand next to Li Nanli!
Mr. Ford was attracted to her as well. However, he soon snapped out of his daze and turned his attention back to Li Nanli. “The last item to be auctioned tonight is the Valley Orchid.”
Li Nanli nodded as he followed him.
“When will the ‘Moonlight of Spring River’ be auctioned?” Fu Zhi asked her first question after she went into a private box. Mr. Ford had not expected someone like her to care about an antique painting and calligraphy at all. Be that as it may, he swallowed his curiosity back into his stomach pit and said, “It’s one of the last few items to be auctioned.”
After saying that, he went out of the room.
There was a group of staff moving the auction items below them. When Fu Zhi’s gaze skimmed over the blue-colored flower, she was both shocked and surprised.
Jiang Jinshu only arrived two hours later, when the auction was nearing its end.
“The next item to be auctioned is one-third of the ancient painting ‘Moonlight of Spring River’ from China! The starting price is 60 million dollars!” The voice of the female auctioneer was heard from every corner.
Inside the transparent glass clover, the ancient painting, which had been intact before the auction, had been divided into three parts by the professionals from the Ford Family.
The voice of the female auctioneer then rang out once more. “I believe we all know that this is a classic work of Master Xu from the Ming Dynasty. The price for this classic piece has been ramped up to 480 million in the past, but right now, it has been split into three parts, which greatly increases the chances of painting lovers getting their hands on a piece…”
Fu Zhi raised her head and squinted.
“The Fords are really a bunch of sanctimonious folks.” Jiang Jinshu frowned. “They make it sound like they are doing everyone a big favor, but in reality, all they care about is their own profit. The painting was worth 480 million dollars, and now it has been cut into three parts. This means that the price for each part will be ramped up again. Those who won’t get the first painting will compete over the second one, and the person who will buy the first piece will have to collect the other two in order to reflect the value of the painting. This way, each part of the painting will be sold at the maximum price in each auction session, and the profit they gain will be doubled.”
Most importantly, although the painting had been professionally cut into three pieces, one still could not deny the fact that the painting was damaged.
After Jiang Jinshu finished speaking, Fu Zhi jerked up. She smacked her hand on the table and caused Jiang Jinshu to jump up from fright.
Just as he was about to let the comment “Are you crazy?” out of his mouth, he saw Fu Zhi tap on the speaker, and her clear voice resounded throughout the entire hall, stunning everyone.
Mia was chatting with other socialites in a private box on the second floor. When Fu Zhi’s voice wafted into her ears, she was stunned. One of her friends who wanted to buy the painting for her family was dumbfounded as well, and her face turned green.
The opening bid for the painting was 60 million dollars, and none of them had expected that Fu Zhi would double the price right off the bat.
However, compared to the price, what surprised them the most was that the voice was coming from Li Nanli’s private box.
The guests on the first floor were not that competitive, but each and every person that went on the second floor was a member of an elite family. After a short bout of rumination, someone finally shouted, “150 million!”
“180 million!” Fu Zhi added, her voice cold.
Then, a shaky voice erupted from another private box. “2… 200 million!”
“250 million!” Fu Zhi pressed on, making the hall once again fall silent.
They had never attended an auction like this before.
However, that was just the beginning. When the second part of the ancient painting was moved onto the stage and the female auctioneer finished her speech, the rich woman in Li Nanli’s private box shouted again, “250 million!”
Everyone was stunned.
‘What the hell is wrong with you? You should increase the price by 3 million each time you place a bid, not multiply by three!’
Well, Fu Zhi did not know what everyone was thinking, as her attention was focused completely on the painting right now. At the same time, Jiang Jinshu bristled and shouted, “You spent 500 million to buy a painting? Are you crazy?”
Then, he paused for a while and looked at Li Nanli. When he saw the frown on his face, he added, “Nanli and I are here to bid on the Valley Orchid. Are you sure you can afford to pay the price? Don’t expect us to help you pay for it!”
Fu Zhi then replied coldly, “I have money.”
Jiang Jinshu remembered her relationship with the research institute, and his expression turned milder. “Alright then.”
“But…” Fu Zhi added. “It’s not enough.”
Jiang Jinshu was speechless. “Your conscience must have been eaten by dogs!”
Fu Zhi was not in the mood to quarrel with him right now. She turned to look at Li Nanli and said, “I have Valley Orchids, and I can give them to you. Their qualities are even better than the qualities of the one here. The third auction session is going to start soon, and it’s too late to ask my men to transfer money to me. You’ll lend me 150 million first, and I will pay you back in 5 minutes after the auction ends.”
“No way!” Jiang Jinshu interrupted her. He took a deep breath and asked, “You have a Valley Orchid? Are you kidding me? You’re just a high school student! Besides, you’re considered an adult now, so you should know that patriotism isn’t everything. If you don’t have that big of a head, then don’t wear such a big hat! Similarly, if you can’t afford something, then don’t buy it! You will only make yourself look like a laughing stock!”
“Jiang Jinshu!” A cold, magnetic voice erupted behind him.
“This is the second time.”
Jiang Jinshu froze. Then, he took a deep breath and tried to reason with Li Nanli. “Nanli, we only brought enough money to bid on the Valley Orchid. I know you like her, but you should know that our research needs the Valley Orchid very badly at the moment!”
Li Nanli lifted his head, and his expression was grave.
He did not say anything, but Jiang Jinshu knew he had already made up his mind.
Therefore, he nodded and said, “Fine then! This is all your fault, Fu Zhi!”
Then, he walked out of the private box.
Meanwhile, in Mia’s private box…
Her friends seemed disappointed. “760 million. I’ve lost the opportunity to appreciate ancient paintings up close. This woman is so happy. President Li is willing to squander so much money to buy a painting for her…”
Mia did not like the things her friend was saying. She had always been the center of attention, and she liked Li Nanli very much. Thus, she pinched her own palm and said, “President Li and my father are good friends. If you want to see the painting, I can help you.”
Her friend’s eyes shone. “But wasn’t the painting bought by that woman?”
“Don’t you have money too? No matter how precious or expensive the painting is, it still cannot change the fact that it’s just a piece of paper. Only the Chinese treat it like a treasure. This stuff was hanging around the kitchen in my great-grandfather’s time. If she has a problem with you touching it, then you can ask her to reduce the price and sell it to you.”
Another socialite chimed in, “President Li is a capable man. I’m sure he’d be willing to give the painting to you. After all, he can use the money he wanted to bid on the Valley Orchid with to buy a painting for his female companion. Then, maybe he will give you one as well.”
Mia’s friend was not as confident as the others, but she really wanted to see the painting. In the end, she gave in to her desire and followed Mia.
The trading point of the ancient paintings was at the back of the auction hall. It was very safe there.
When Mia and her friend arrived, the staff stopped them. “This painting has been bought by President Li, so it would not be appropriate for us to show the painting to you two.”
“Move away! This auction is mine, so I naturally have a say in this,” Mia said stubbornly. “We just want to see the painting. If she doesn’t like it, then we can pay her back a few hundred million and buy the painting back! It’s not a big deal at all!”
“I’m not selling the painting.” An indifferent voice rang out behind her. Fu Zhi was walking toward them, her face grim and her eyes filled with anger.
“Hah! Who do you think you are? This auction is held by my family, and there’s nothing you can do if we don’t want to sell this painting to you!” Mia shouted back. She still had not realized the young lady in front of her was Fu Zhi. “Besides, the painting was paid for by President Li. He isn’t here right now, and no one is going to back you up!”
Fu Zhi did not reply. She just stared at her coldly. When the staff member heard the commotion, he ran over and said, “No, Ms. Mia. This lady paid for the painting. President Li only helped her pay 150 million.”
“What? She paid for the painting?” Mia looked at Fu Zhi, her eyes filled with disbelief.
The staff member nodded. “Yes.”
Fu Zhi did not want to waste her time on Mia anymore. She turned to the staff member and said, “I’m really astounded by the way you treat your guests. Please hurry up and give the painting to me.”
Mia was infuriated when Fu Zhi gave her the cold shoulder. She felt that she really could not interact with this woman from China.
Stretching her arm, she attempted to pick the painting up without taking any safety measures. “We are not selling the painting anymore. Even if I have to throw it into the garbage can, I won’t sell it to a Chinese person!”